Saint of the Day – 31 December – Blessed Alain de Solminihac OSA (1593-1659) Bishop of Cahors from 1636 until his death, religious of the Order of the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine of Chancelade in Périgueux (now the Confederation of St Augustine). Blessed Alain was Abbot, Reformer, Marian devotee most especially to Our Lady of Rocamadour, Apostle of the Holy Eucharist especially by his promotion of Adoration, he was also a member of the Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement. Born on 25 November 1593 in the family castle at Belet, Dordogne, France and died on 31 December 1659, aged 66, at Mercues, Lot, France of natural causes. Patronage – the Diocese of Cahors.
Alain was born into an aristocratic family in castle Belet near Perigueux in France.
He wanted to become a member of the Knights of Malta in order to serve God but felt a strong call to the Priesthood and to the religious life so joined the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine of Chancelade in 1613 as a postulant. The completion of his theological studies soon saw him Ordained to the Priesthood on 22 September 1618. While still a young man he became the Abbot of Chancelade, which had fallen into disrepair as a result of the turmoil of the times. He strove with great effort and effect to reform his brothers in the Congregation of the Canons Regular of Chancelade.
In 1636 he became Bishop of Cahors. He was as a zealous shepherd of the flock with which he was entrusted. As Bishop he visited each of his 800 parishes at least nine times during the course of his episcopate and he held an episcopal consecration on one occasion.
His great devotion to the Holy Eucharist prompted him to promote Eucharistic Adoration as well as restoring a many pastoral devotions within his Diocese.
He attended the Council of Trent and followed the lead of Saint Charles Borromeo in enforcing it’s decrees in his diocese. During this time, he met Saint Francis de Sales during Lent in 1619 and the two became friends and had many more meetings following this. Another friendship was his close relationship with Saint Vincent de Paul.
His reform work not only blessed his Diocese but influenced other parts of France.
Moreover, he remained always faithful to the Holy See. Misconceptions, which surrounded him, were resolved in his favour. His convincing love of neighbour made him a brilliant light of faith in 17th Century France. After a long, zealous, faithful and strenuous life he died on 31 December 1659.
He was declared a Servant of God after Pope Pius VI opened his cause for sainthood on 6 August 1783 and Pope Pius XI declared him to be Venerable on 19 June 1927. St Pope John Paul II Beatified him on 4 October 1981. The miracle required for his Beatification involved the cure of Marie Ledoux on 29 June 1661 in France.